Address: Piazza S. Giorgio, 23822 Bellano LC, Italy
Borgo Corenno Plinio
If one lakeside locale evokes the transportive powers of time travel, it’s Borgo Corenno Plinio, an exquisite mediaeval hamlet nicknamed the village of “1000 steps”. The visit commences in the main piazzetta, home to the 12-century Saint Thomas Becket of Canterbury church and the mediaeval castle whose battlements loom over the village. Travellers then descend a quaint cluster of red-roofed stone buildings lining rocky narrow lanes joined by 493 stone steps to arrive at the lake-level historic stone pier. Then, they retrace their steps back to the starting point on top. Entry to the town costs €4, a fee recently implemented by the mayor to contribute to the village’s preservation costs.
Address: 23824 Dervio, Province of Lecco
I Vetri di Bellagio
For better or worse, Bellagio is one of the lake’s most trodden towns. Consequently, the heaving crowds can eclipse the town’s heirlooms, one of which is I Vetri di Bellagio, but it’s still well worth a visit. Tucked into a narrow lane close to the Punta Spartivento, this artisan glass shop has remained unchanged since its 1952 opening. Walking into the two-floor space immediately recalls a kaleidoscopic effect as glistening speckles of colour surround you. Balloons in every shade of the rainbow float below the ceiling while lamps, glasses and objects galore abound. At the shop, Christmas never falls out of season – tree ornaments and a multitude of holiday decorations deck the walls year-round.
Address: Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 60, 22021 Bellagio CO, Italy
Ride a funicular
Funiculars arrive at some of the lake’s most dramatic vantage points. The one departing from Lecco soars 1,375 metres to reach Piani D’Erna, a gateway to the slopes in the shadow of the Monte Resegone peak. The Argegno to Pigra funicular covers 653 metres to offer views of the colourful towns that stud the shores of the lake’s western branch.